W Bro Bob Ballard was in the Chairs of Peace and Unity Craft, Royal Arch and Mark all at the same time. He is the first to do this, and will be the last since the Craft Lodge has now handed in its warrant.
Helping Birmingham Children's Hospital
The Lodge of the East and West 9785 raised cash for the Neurosurgery Unit of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital at their Ladies Festival held earlier in the year. In June, the Festival Secretary and the Master of the Lodge, W Bro Ramesh Sethi and W Bro Raj Sethi, presented a cheque for £650 to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Charity donations to the hospital are usually utilised towards the purchase of much needed life saving medical equipment as well as buying toys and games for the playroom – a very worthy cause!
In addition to having seen two former Lord Mayors of Birmingham as members, Barnard Lodge 5100 now adds to its roll of honour a Grand Inspector.
At the last December Quarterly Communication the MW The Pro Grand Master announced that the MW The Grand Master had appointed W Bro Robert Scott Levitt as Grand Inspector of the Portugal Group of Lodges and Chapters.
VW Bro Robert was initiated into Barnard Lodge in the Province of Warwickshire on 9th May 1972 and served as Worshipful Master in 1980/81. Although he moved to Portugal soon after installing his successor he remained a subscribing member of his mother Lodge until invited to Honorary Membership in May 1992 and still regularly attends Installations. He received Warwickshire Provincial honours in 1987 and the Grand Rank of PAGDC in 2003.
In Portugal, Robert has pursued a masonic career of distinction. He was the Founding Secretary when Prince Henry the Navigator Lodge 9360, meeting on the Algarve, was consecrated by the late Lord Farnham, Assistant Grand Master, in 1990. He joined Lancaster Lodge 9413 in 1993 meeting in Estoril, near Lisbon, and was Worshipful Master in 1996, (the year he received Overseas Grand Rank) and again in 2008 and 2009. He was also a Founder Member of Britannia Masters Lodge 9575 (consecrated in 1995) where he was Worshipful Master in 2005.
In the Royal Arch, Robert was the first Exaltee of Prince Henry the Navigator Chapter in 1993 and ascended through the various offices to serve as First Principal in 2000. In 2002, Lancaster Chapter was founded with E Comp Robert as Principal Sojourner. He was invested as MEZ in 2004 and again in 2005, and received Overseas Grand Chapter rank in 2010.
Amongst other Masonic interests, Robert was made a member of the Ordem de Mestre Afonso Domingues in 1992 by MW Bro Fernando Teixeira, Grand Master, Grande Loja Regular de Portugal; and appointed Vice Grand Inspector of Honour for life of GLRP (Legal) in 2009 by MW Bro Mario Martin Guia, Grand Master.
Hearty Warwickshire congratulations and best wishes go to VW Bro Robert on his appointment.
Visitors to the Lodges in Portugal would be very welcome. All the information is available on www.freemasonryinportugal.com. Occasionally there are changes of locations and dates, so anyone wishing to visit the lodges in Estoril, Vilamoura or Carvoeiro should contact the secretaries first.
Hunter Provides and Shares
Orion Lodge 4993 will be presenting the First Part of the First Lecture, and receiving an explanation of the First Degree Tracing Board at their meeting on 27th January 2011. This will involve the majority of the Lodge members, ranging from the newest Entered Apprentice up to the Senior Member of the Lodge.
The presentation of the Lectures is a rare occurrence at Lodge meetings which few newer Masons within the Province have the opportunity to enjoy.
The Lodge meets at Stirling Road and will open at 6.00pm. Dinner comprises of Soup, Steak and Kidney Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Coffee or Tea, at a cost of £21 including wines / beers etc with the meal.
Keeping in Touch
W Bro Peter Balchin, Past Master of Knowle Lodge 8001 promised to keep in touch with his adventure into Freemasonry in India and now reports, courtesy of W Bro Jim Fell, as follows:
“I was contacted by a senior Freemason very soon after contacting The Grand Lodge of India. We met at his office in Madurai and he was truly a fine person and made me feel most welcome. Subsequently to that, I was invited to attend a Lodge Meeting. Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive but the welcome from everyone was very warm and sincere. The ceremony that evening was a second and it followed the ritual that we are familiar with. In fact, within the Lodge, everything was known to me with just a few minor variations, for example at the end and within the Lodge, the Brethren sang the Indian National Anthem. As you might have guessed, I found that a bit tricky!! The other thing that surprised me was just how much I remembered. After all these years, I had expected to have forgotten a great deal, so that too was a real surprise.
After the formal business, then came the festive board. Here things were so very very different and to me did not follow a recognisable format at all. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable. Part the way through I was asked to present a bag of rice to a needy person. Seems it was a tradition of the Lodge members to each donate a cup of rice I think each per day and when the equivalent of a sack has been collected, it is donated to the needy. Needless to say, there are many many needy persons here in India. Maybe it could be something to be done in Knowle Lodge following the severe recession??
There are three Lodges that meet and I hope to be invited over the next few weeks to the other two. So there we are. A really enjoyable evening and it goes to show just how far the welcoming hand of Freemasonry reaches out”.